Cultural legacy and native flora in focus at art shows

One of the OpenDoor77 collective's artworks at Pilot's Row as part of Feile '14.
One of the OpenDoor77 collective's artworks at Pilot's Row as part of Feile '14.

Two unusual new exhibitions have been launched at different venues in Derry.

As part of Feile 2014, an art collective called OpenDoor77 have installed a show at Pilot’s Row Centre.

One of OpenDoor77's artworks.

One of OpenDoor77's artworks.

The interactive, live art performance will run until this Saturday, August 16th.

The artists involved and visitors are being asked to respond visually to the concept of legacy following the City of Culture year.

Art materials are provided for visitor participation.

The Playhouse meanwhile last night hosted the launch of the ‘The Irish Alphabet in Botanical Art’ show.

The new show will run at the Artillery Street venue through until August 24th.

This is the inaugural exhibition of the recently formed Irish Society of Botanical Artists (ISBA), and consists of 59 paintings of Irish native flora.

Each of the paintings is wound around the first letter of the Irish name of the plant, in a way which demonstrates the plant’s characteristics.

The plants depicted were chosen by the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin, to illustrate the variety of plant forms and habitats on the island.

The majority of plants were herbaceous, from seaside, meadow and mountainside, along with some trees, shrubs, and a few ferns.

The artists were each allocated a native Irish plant which they had to seek out, obtain and paint, in their own style, but each painting is the same size, on a 30 x 30cm square. In addition, a unique font was created for the project by the calligrapher Tim O’Neill.

Famous botanical artist Susan Sex was the official artistic mentor, and expert staff of the National Botanic Gardens, along with some prominent Irish naturalists, have contributed.

The exhibition is the result of collaboration between the artists, horticulturists, botanists, librarians, scribes and naturalists.

Orchid specialist Brendan Sayers, described it as “absolutely breathtaking.”

Brendan , a member of staff of the National Botanic Gardens, co-author with Susan Sex of “Ireland’s Wild Orchids”, and, along with Mary Dillon, editor of the Aibitir catalogue, writes in his introduction that the new show at the Playhouse “celebrates many things; our oldest native language, our native flora and the artistic observers of nature and how they capture that beauty on paper”.

The accompanying catalogue, designed by Jane Stark, has already been described as a collector’s item.